Thursday, October 18, 2012

#ThursThreads - The Challenge That Ties Tales Together - Week 43

Welcome back to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked. It's Thursday again, so what should you be doing? Writing #FlashFiction, that's what! Welcome to Week 43 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Need the rules? Read on!

Here's how it works:
  • The prompt is a line from the previous week's winning tale.
  • The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
Rules to the Game:
  • This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
  • Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
  • Post your story in the comments section of this post
  • Include your word count (or be excluded from judging)
  • Include your Twitter handle or email (so we know how to find you)
  • The challenge is open 7 AM to 7 PM Pacific Time
  • The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up. ;)
How it benefits you:
  • You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we're all about promotion - you know you are!)
  • You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
  • Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus

Our Judge for Week 43:

The intrepid mountain biker, drummer, and erotic cowboy romance author, Randi Alexander. She will also be a Featured Author at Hot Mojave Knights Romance Reader Event in Vegas 2013.

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“But it’s not enough.”

All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck! :)


  1. “But it’s not enough!”
    “What do you mean?” asked John.
    “Hard work, praying, wishing. It makes no difference it’s just not enough!”

    Despair and anger resonated through her voice, and the air condensed around them. The silence stretched as Anne weighed her next words, trying to lessen the sting, but they had to be said; she couldn’t fight them any longer.
    “It’s time to go home.”
    “I thought this was home.”

    The pain in his eyes tormented her, but it was hopeless; without rain this lot of crops would fail just like the last. Anne struggled to stay calm; the voice of reason, and the death knell on their dreams of land-owning and farming.

    This land had taken everything they had, sucking them dry, ready to toss them aside. And no love wasn’t enough to keep her tied here.

    She could go home, admit defeat and wait for him to see sense.

    John sat motionless at the hand-carved table as she paced the room.

    But before Anne could utter the words that would shatter their world forever clouds swarmed over the landscape, and the rain fell.

    Relief flooded over her as they danced madly in the rain. Hope raised it’s battered head and pushed her worries away.

    Tomorrow would be soon enough to worry about the future.

    219 words

  2. "But..."

    "It's not enough to beat them. We must break them. Humiliate them. Make them weep in anguish and despair and regret ever challenging us. They are wrong, and they are weak, and they are evil, and they must be obliterated. Have I made myself clear?"

    There was uneasy silence in the room after the diatribe. He looked around, challenging anyone to voice opposition, eyes blazing with a zealot's mad fervor.

    The rest of them hadn't expected such heated rhetoric over the office's Halloween decorating contest.

    It was no surprise at all that the abbatoir motif didn't sit well with HR.


  3. I knelt and placed flowers on her grave. How could the world still be spinning, life moving forward? It confused me. Not only did it confuse me, but it made me mad. My life had come apart at the seams, and no one seemed to understand.

    “You did all you could. It was her time to go,” they say.

    “She’s in a better place now.”

    Was she? Was she really in a better place? A place without me? And, what kind of a place did that leave me in? I’ll tell you what kind of place—a living, breathing hell.

    Pushing myself up off my knees, my bones crack and complain. The stiffness in my back feels like a vice grip on my spine. I stretch my arms over my head trying to get relief. Only one of my arms makes it, the other shoulder won’t cooperate.

    Thirty years after the accident, and every day is a reminder. Every day is another day of regret. Why didn’t I see that ice? Why didn’t I do something different? Something that would’ve killed me instead of her. I did everything they teach you to do.

    My vision blurs, a pain shoots through my chest. I’m not afraid. I stumble and fall to the ground. I’m surprisingly okay with this. I want it. Death is welcome, but it’s not enough.

    I need forgiveness from her.

    I see a light. It’s brightness is overwhelming. From it comes a voice—her voice.

    “I forgive you.”

    250 Words

  4. “You knew the price when you asked for my assistance,” Contessa’s dark eyes flicked over pile of coins on the table between them. “But it’s not enough, nowhere near enough.”

    “It wasn’t enough time. I thought we could work something out,” she said without holding her gaze to the dark eyes.

    “Yes it was.” She abruptly stood from her golden chair, causing an avalanche in the pile of coins. “I always give what is fair. I always help the likes of you with their problems and you dare to return short of my payment and expect me to “work something out.” We have a contract with the time allotment spelled out. You did not meet the terms and I have the right to revoke my assistance, returning things to the way they were.”

    The other quietly backed away to the door as Contessa ranted. Her heart pounded. She needed to get away; she had heard the tales of what happens if you didn’t meet “Contessa’s Terms”.

    “Of course I am willing to help and always do when asked. But you think me a fool and try to cheat me out of what is fairly mine.”

    “No ma’am.”

    “What? No?”

    “I do not wish to cheat you. What you did for me is wonderful and relieved a great burden. All I ask is that you give me just one more day.”

    Contessa smiled and seemed to contemplate the request. “No,” she said and snapped her fingers, dispatching the woman into nothing.

    250 words

  5. “The flowers are beautiful aren’t they?” the teen asked
    “Yes,” the other teen answered.
    “She would have loved them,”
    “I don’t know how something like this could have happened.”
    “Yes, you do,”
    “Should we say something?”
    “Like what?”
    “Like we’re sorry to her mom?”
    “I sent flowers. I apologized to her for calling her names in person just because others did. I didn’t taunt her on Facebook; not like them.”
    “But it’s not enough. There’s nothing we can say to make it better. Maybe we’d better not speak to her mom.”
    “There is something we can do. We can show kindness and guard our words, so they don’t harm. And speak up, when others bully.”
    “But nothing we’ll bring her back.”
    “No. We’ll have to live with the fact we were part of this. We caused her to take her own life. What kind of people does that make us?”
    “It makes us selfish and self-centred. We have to learn and change so that this never happens again.”
    “Let’s start today by friending that girl in the corner hiding. I think she was her only friend and now she’s alone.”
    “Would she want to be friends with us?”
    “I don’t know but we have to keep trying. We have a lot of kindness to spread around to make up what for we did.”
    “This can never happen again.”
    “Never again.” the teen agreed.
    Their guardian angel watched over smiling, hoping that these two sinners were now on the right path.
    250 words

  6. Payment in Full

    “Darling, they’re doing everything they can. You need to rest now.” Her mother gently touched her shoulder. “The police are looking everywhere. I’m sure they’ll find him by morning.”

    *But it’s not enough.*

    The whisper rang in her mind, and she shuddered inwardly, her face betraying none of the terror and sadness inside. She shook her head, and stepped over to the window, looking out into the dark, silver rivulets of rain sliding down the glass.

    “He’s a smart boy. He’ll find someplace to hole up until someone finds him. Mark my words.” Her mother uttered the correct phrases, but her eyes didn’t agree with what she said.

    *The pact must be fulfilled.*

    “I…need to get outside for a bit. Need air.” She brushed her mother’s protestations aside, hurrying into the storm. She found Natalie just where she had expected; splashing in puddles outside, after having snuck out of her house.

    “Natalie, would you go walking with me? I’m trying to find Timothy.”

    The blonde child nodded, eyes sparkling with mischief at an adult conspiring with her romp in the rain. The shadows cloaked their passage. They both heard the girl’s mother call, ignored it and went on toward the forest.

    *We are waiting.*

    Deep sorrow rushed through her as she led the child into the trees. At a crossroads, they stopped and she kissed Natalie’s shining hair. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

    In moments, she was leading Timothy out of the wood, dazed but unharmed, Natalie’s scream still echoing faintly.

    250 words {without title}

  7. Emily Kay YenawineOctober 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Greg gave the leather laces a final tug, fixing the saddlebag in place.

    “You can’t be serious”, she said.

    He tightened the girth-strap. The pony rolled its eyes towards the open stable doors. Jingled the bit and pawed the grey-dust floor.

    “They’ll catch you, you know. You can’t just disappear from this place – they catch everyone. I still don’t understand – your family’s here. Your job is here. . .”

    Her pleading green eyes were bright with tears.

    “No one wants to work in the mines, Greg, but it’s just. . .it’s the law! Your brother and father never complained – it’s just our life here! We’ve got our families . . .the vineyard. . . ” She squeezed his arm, and added in a whisper, “and I’m here. . . “

    He watched the dust swirl around her anxious face, in a shaft of light that snuck through the tattered barn siding – the dust of the mines’ silicates that would slowly suffocate him if he stayed, just like his father. . .and grandfather. That sun was a ray of hope reaching, pleading with him to go, just as urgently as Kara pleaded otherwise. He threw a foot in the stirrup and leapt aboard.

    She stepped back into the musty shadows. “But it’s not enough for you, is it? It never is. . .”

    Greg looked at her helplessly. Then the pony began to skitter about, and he turned away. Looked up, forward. . .and spurred towards the sunlight.

    247 words

  8. Watching as my husband came down from the scaffolding we’d set up around the garage, I wondered if we had enough paint left for a third coat. Jimmy gave me a glance as he joined me.

    “I think it needs a third coat,” I told him and he sighed, wiping his hands on his shirt.

    “Jack, we’ve been out here since seven this morning. It’s ninety degrees. I’m tired. And we’ve already given it two coats. Let’s leave it.”

    “But it’s not enough.”

    Jimmy put his hands on my shoulder, steering me toward the house. “It’s plenty. It’s hotter than Hades out here right now and I want a shower. Let’s go inside.”

    I sighed; it was supposed to cool down tonight and by then, this coat should be dry enough to put another coat on.


    As soon as the sun went down, I dragged my very grumpy husband back to the scaffolding. He was determined not to put another coat of paint on the garage and our mutual stubbornness was clashing.

    “Jack! It’s fine! Besides, who’s going to see it? The neighbors don’t care, I certainly don’t care, and I’m sure the random and varied wildlife around here don’t care, either. I mean, are the deer going to come to our salt-lick any less because you think the garage needs a third coat of paint?”

    Looking once again at the garage, I took in my husband’s face. That damn puppy dog look gets me every time.

    248 words

  9. “You agreed to help him,” she said. “In any and every possible way.”

    “I have. I’ve told you as much. But—”

    “It’s not enough.” Hard words from a harder woman.

    “You don’t know the meaning of the word.” I scowled, arms crossed. “What you’re asking of me… An energy transfer of this magnitude will kill me.”

    “Please, Sasha.” She sneered. “You’re no hero and I’m not asking you to martyr yourself. Take the energy you need from another and you survive.”

    “So I kill someone.”

    “To save him, you stupid puritan.” She stared at me, bewildered. “Don’t act as though your hands are clean. How can one of these useless… humans be worth more to you than him?”

    I’d promised myself. Humans couldn’t stop me. I had to do it for them.

    “You’re fucking psychotic, Karen,” I said.

    Karen Gemini smiled, and a cold pit formed in my stomach. She—the one person immune to my touch—grabbed me by the throat, slammed me tight against the wall.

    “Do you think Reliant City and your goody-goody friends will welcome you back, girl? Once they know you’re Karen Gemini’s bastard daughter?”

    I clawed at her hold on me, but I couldn’t take her energy.

    “Oh, Sasha,” she said. “You sold your soul to the devil to deny your heritage. But you do this one thing for me and I’ll keep your dirty little secret.”

    One thing. Right.

    “Save your brother, Sasha.” She released me. “Or I kill everyone you love.”

    250 #WIP500 words


    The stink of society’s refuse was thick at the soup kitchen that Friday. Unwashed homeless and inebriates stewed in their own waste crowded in for their only real meal of the day—sometimes week. It turned my stomach, but maybe not as much as the less physical stink of the volunteers who where just there to feel better about themselves. Better than those they were serving.

    I was one of those self-gratifying hypocrites who pumped myself up on helping the less fortunate, only to forget all about them once I was back in the comfort of my own home. For me it’s definitely true that you hate most in others what you dislike about yourself. That morning I’d met Ms. Estrange, one of our regulars at the kitchen, and didn’t even recognize her until she said something.

    She wasn’t the sort of woman you forgot either, without actively trying to. So morbidly obese she looked like one big pillar of flesh wrapping in black cloth. I have no idea how she managed to live on the streets. As for what she’d said that morning, well the woman was clearly mentally ill.

    “Ms. Estrange,” I forced a smile. “Hungry again? I thought you said you ate Chuck Wesley this morning.”
    She nodded, proffering her bowl, “I did, but it’s not enough.”

    By the time she finished saying it, I realized Chuck hadn’t come in for his soup today. And what was that stuck in her teeth?

    245 words

  11. Those beady eyes looked up at me from across the desk. Even the fog of cigar smoke didn’t soften they’re mindless greed.

    I stayed cool. “I took the job. I did the job. You got what you wanted. You’re free and clear.”

    “It’s not enough.”

    Three words changed the dynamic of the discussion and told me what I needed to know.

    Three words sealed Don Valentine’s fate.

    Still, I gave him one more chance.

    “The wife and the kid knew zip. They’re civilians. You know how I roll.”

    “You didn’t kill them. I don’t give two shits that you put them on a train. You didn’t live up to the contract. It’s…Not…Enough. Do you have wax in your ears?”

    I’m New York, he’s Chicago. I’m Yankee’s, he’s White Sox. He made matters worse. I’m real sensitive about my ears.

    “Excuse me?” I leaned forward on the desk. That idiot ape bodyguard, Benny was already on his feet, looking tense.

    Valentine left a letter opener on his desk. A memoir from the old country, I supposed. It had good balance. That’s why with the flick of a wrist stuck so well in Benny’s throat.

    The Don is fat and slow. He tried to launch back from the desk but that’s hard to do when his silk tie was clenched in my hand.

    The blade pulled easy out of Benny, I placed it under the Don’s chin.

    “Fifty g’s…it’s yours.” He blubbered.

    “It’s still not enough.” The smile never reached my eyes.

    250 words

  12. “Brigette, please. Come home. You shouldn’t be out here all by yourself. I said things in the heat of the moment but I regretted them as soon as I calmed down. I lost one daughter. I don’t want to lose the other.”

    Brigette rubbed her brow, glancing around at the small hostel. “I’ve been making a living here, momma. This is my life. I don’t mind it so much.”

    “But…you must be lonely. Most people are here for a day before they move on. That’s is the point of a hostel after all. Especially in the worse weather. They usually fly from the one before or take the dirigible.” The older woman sniffed and looked down at her folded hands. “Both your father and I want you back. We don’t blame you for what happened. We just want you back.” She looked up, eyes glimmering with tears. “Please Brigette.”

    “But it’s not enough. I need to stay here and help more. There are some that still need me to be here. This station hasn’t had occupancy for a while.” The younger girl closed her eyes tight. “It needs to be longer. I need to do more. For Janna, I need to do more.”

    203 words

  13. “Have I told you what an idiot you are?” James let his beer bottle thunk down on the bar.

    “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” I answered. Letting my own bottle thunk down. “Only about a zillion times.”

    “Then how come you never listen to me?” James shook his head. He had a valid point. Sometimes, I was just flat stupid. “Turning off your brain cells, listening to your pecker again.” He took a big chug of his beer. “You know that’s always trouble.”

    Yeah. I knew. I stared at my beer. Michelle. She was absolutely stunning. Any guy I knew would be happy to call her their own. And she’d been mine. Until I saw Stacy. Sexy, hot Stacy. With those hips that swayed as she walked. Those perfect knockers. It was like my brain cells just quit working.

    We had an affair. Me and Stacy. Damn, but she was fun. But, she was trouble too. And I knew if Michelle ever found out. And she did find out. And I went home one day, and my keys didn’t work. And I couldn’t call her on the phone. And her lawyer walked up and handed me the papers. Divorce. Just like that.

    “You had the perfect girl, bean-dip,” James took another chug of beer. “But it’s not enough for you, is it.” He chuckled. “Was Stacy worth it?”

    I laughed. Paused. Grinned. “Yeah. She sure as hell was.”

    250 words

  14. You could say we have some kind of ‘relationship’, but it’s not enough and it’s certainly flawed. You could say I’m always there for her when she needs me; you could say she’s using me. All I can think is that I want to see more of her and, as if she can hear my thoughts, she appears before me across the table in the cafeteria just feet from where we met.

    “Hey,” she says, smiling, and I replied in kind, hope welling up inside me. “I thought maybe we could talk, you know, without me crying on your shoulder.”

    100 words

  15. Captured

    I climb in next to her, warm, welcome. Her hands paint pictures on my skin, symbols on symbols, a landscape of waiting, stretching time and sense and patience until it threatens to break.

    Until I threaten to break.

    She likes me thus, desperate, hungry. Her eyes seem to glow in the darkness, another of her seemings, bodies steaming up the windows, until I forget that I was ever cold, ever lonely, ever wandering the world in search of something.

    In search of her.

    Once upon a time. That’s how the stories begin. Isn’t it? I can’t remember. The world has shrunk to this place, this woman who holds me captive, holds me still, holds me off, asking with her silence for me to scream defiance, beg forgiveness, ache, ache, ache with wanting. She keeps me thus, keeps me sound, keeps me ready, always ready.

    Until I understand war.

    She is armored in amour as she dances just out of reach. I advance, steady, predictable. A front. Inside, I am wild, angry, willing to rend and shatter beauty. Willing to plunder, to plow furrows in paradise until it yields to the thunder of my need. I take, at last I take, and it is all I ever craved, all I require. I claim this place, this world, this woman.

    But it's not enough.

    In the satiated dark comes the whisper of a whisper of the thing I’d sought, the thing I could no longer have. I remember freedom…and despair.

    249 words

  16. Thursday Threads is officially closed.


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